Cough remedies for different cough types

What kind of cough do you have, and how can you get rid of it?

A cough, while frustrating or even embarrassing at work or school, can actually be a very productive reflex. Coughing serves to break up the thick material in your airways so that it can be expelled, getting rid of infected mucus and clearing breathing passages. While it can be useful, sometimes we need to soothe or suppress our cough reflex. Here we outline different kinds of coughs and a few cough remedies.

Types of cough
We tend to see two distinctly different types of coughing. The first is coughing as a result of congestion, an indicator of an infection. The other is a dry cough, which is not accompanied by congestion and may be a result of allergies, pollutants or other irritants in the throat.
Coughs Due To Congestion
This sort of cough is most common when we are suffering from an infection like a common cold or influenza. Other associated illnesses include bronchitis, sinus infection or pneumonia. When suffering from a respiratory tract infection, your coughing will often be accompanied by thick, dark mucus, a temperature and difficulty breathing. Coughing in this case, while not pleasant, is very useful in clearing your airways and expelling mucus. The key to relieving this sort of cough is to avoid violent fits of coughing and soothe throat or other pain, while promoting a productive cough.
Dry Cough
This sort of cough is caused by substances in the air that we breathe in, which cause irritation of our airways. Smoking, or secondhand smoke are often major culprit as well as dry air from airplanes or air conditioners, pollen in the air, or other pollutants. This sort of cough is not useful like the coughing due to congestion mentioned above, because it doesn’t serve to clear breathing passages or rid your airways of unwanted matter. Cough remedies for this sort of cough, then, should focus on soothing irritated airways and suppressing the cough reflex.
Over the counter cough suppressants
Drugs that fall into this category of medicine are also known as antitussives. Their purpose is to suppress the natural cough reflex that causes us to cough. A cough suppressant commonly found in over the counter cold medications is dextromethorphan. This cough remedy should be taken only after studying the instructions on package, as side effects can include nausea, dizziness and anxiety, and an overdose may cause breathing difficulty and hallucinations.
Salt water gargle
To ease the pain of a scratchy or sore throat, mix up a half-teaspoon of table salt in a glass of warm water and gargle for 10 seconds. Repeat as necessary.
This is always important when you are sick, but it is especially important when suffering from a dry cough, as this sort of cough may signify that the mucus in your breathing passages is too dry. Make sure you’re drinking no less than ten eight-ounce glasses of water (or juice, broth, tea, etc.) every day. Good ways to get in those fluids include: diluted juice or sports drinks, hot water with lemon and honey, and herbal teas. Drinks to avoid include coffee, black tea, caffeinated sodas and alcohol, though a single shot of whiskey or tequila with hot water, honey and lemon can be an excellent remedy.
Rest your vocal chords
Avoid yelling, singing or even talking for as long as you can while your cough persists. These activities put unnecessary strain on your throat and can inhibit recovery.
A humid environment can be an excellent cough remedy. Place a humidifier in the room where you sleep to keep the air around you moist. Try adding a drop of eucalyptus oil to the water. Place your face directly over a bowl of hot water, with a towel draped over your head and the bowl. This creates a mini sauna for your sinuses and can be tremendously helpful. Breathe deeply over the bowl until it’s no longer steamy, and repeat as necessary. Hot showers have the same effect, so take an extra long steamy shower in the morning and before bed.
Cough remedies: The recipes
Give these soothing cough remedy recipes a try.
Remember that parents are advised to NOT give honey to infants, due to the risk of botulism.
Honey-Lemon-Ginger Paste
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoonfinely minced fresh ginger
Mix these three ingredients together to form a thin paste-like mixture. Eat this just as it is, or add a small amount hot water and drink.
Aloe and Honey
  • 8oz. Aloe vera juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
Mix thoroughly and drink. You can find aloe vera juice at heath stores.
White Grape Juice and Honey
  • 8oz. White grape juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
Mix thoroughly and drink. You can find aloe vera juice at heath stores.
Garlic and Honey
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons honey
Mince the garlic, mix with honey and add a small amount of hot water (optional). Drink twice daily.
Spiced Infusion
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 24oz water
Mix together in a saucepan, boil on medium heat until just 8 ounces of liquid remain. Add honey if you wish a drink hot.
  • Tags: cough cough remedies
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Categories: Chest, Throat

Michelle Spatz, Amanda Maynes

Comments (1)

  • ardian


    08 March 2012 at 23:28 |
    Don't forget the Vicks on the chest and tioesmmes on the back as well . It was so warming to the chest and when you put your nose under the blankets it sure did help to breathe better. I remember the honey and also the hot toddys but me thinks there was some alcohol there, for medicinal purposes only lolol. Yes, we were sick and miserable but we always got well quickly and went on with our little lives. I think there was a vitamin liquid called Vidalyn??? and we took that every day as well. You have sent me down memory lane. I also remember that we had only rubber boots so heavy wool socks were put on over our shoes before we put the boots on. When we came in with the ice all over the tops they were so hard to get off, but we stripped of all the wet clothes and they were put on the radiators or on the floor grates at my gradmothers.

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